H.E. Mr. Toshiro Ozawa
On Item 108, "Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice"
31 October 2003
The United Nations Convention against Corruption has taken almost three years to elaborate since we began negotiations. Through its adoption today, we will be taking a great step forward in combating corruption, which is a type of misbehavior common to all our societies, regardless of the level of economic development. We would like to reiterate our appreciation to those who were involved in the negotiations for their unparalleled efforts, and especially to the late Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Negotiation of the Convention, for his devotion to completing this task. His sudden death last September just before the conclusion of the negotiations saddened all of us and was a great loss.
This comprehensive convention is the first universal legal instrument against corruption. As an Asian country -- Asia having no such regional instrument against corruption-- Japan welcomes it. The convention contains a wide range of preventive measures that are essential in promoting government transparency and accountability. The next step after its adoption will be for each Member State to turn their attention to implementing the convention effectively, both domestically and internationally.
ve would like to refer also to the importance of preventing and combating what is called 'passive bribery' by public officials in international organizations including the United Nations. For this purpose, we believe it is necessary to grasp and analyze the current situation with regard to such type of corruption in a truly effective and efficient framework, taking into consideration the privileges and immunities of UN officials.
Finally, let me take this opportunity to offer one example of the contributions Japan can make. We have in Tokyo an institute called the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI). This is a regional institute which, through dialogue and deliberation, is contributing to establishing a basis for international cooperation to address issues relating to criminal justice, including corruption.
I wish to close by expressing the hope that the Convention will be adopted as the culmination of our efforts of the last three years.
Thank you, Mr. President.